Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Does International Opinion Matter?
Lost in Translation?
Translation via Babelfish

Reuters  | AP
Sunday 29 of February, 04:48 p.m.

Chávez calls ' pendejó to Bush and rejects intervention

Beam click to see the complete image

By Silene Ramirez

CARACAS (Reuters) - the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, called "asshole" to George W. Bush and threatened cut the oil provision to the United States to finance to groups of violent people in the opposition, who protested by third consecutive day in endorsement to referendo against the agent chief executive.

The violent facts, that Chávez said are caused by "facist grupúsculos", left at least three wounded ones of bullet in the east of Caracas, where soldiers of the National Guard sent to tear-gas shells and pellets against hundreds of demonstrators who faced them stones, woods and bottles.

The protests resisted with slogans and songs of tens of thousands of "chavistas," that culminated a march concentrated in the main freeway of the capital.

The governor was united to the manifestation and after saluting to the massive manifestation, she sentenced: "we will not allow intervention in the internal subjects of Venezuela."

Reuters  | AP
domingo 29 de febrero, 04:48 PM

Chávez llama 'pendejo' a Bush y rechaza intervención

Haz clic para ver la imagen completa

Por Silene Ramírez

CARACAS (Reuters) - El presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez, llamó "pendejo" a George W. Bush y amenazó con cortar el suministro petrolero a Estados Unidos por financiar a grupos de personas violentas en la oposición, que protestaron por tercer día consecutivo en respaldo a un referendo contra el mandatario.

Los hechos violentos, que Chávez dijo están propiciados por "grupúsculos" fascistas, dejaron al menos tres heridos de bala en el este de Caracas, donde soldados de la Guardia Nacional lanzaron granadas lacrimógenas y perdigones contra cientos de manifestantes que los enfrentaron con piedras, palos y botellas.

Las protestas contrastaron con las consignas y canciones de decenas de miles de "chavistas," que culminaron una marcha concentrados en la principal autopista de la capital.

El gobernante se unió a la manifestación y tras saludar a la masiva manifestación, sentenció: "no permitiremos intervención en los asuntos internos de Venezuela."

It is difficult to translate colloquial epithets with precision.  The Babelfish translator simply copied the term "pendejo" in the title, without offering a translation, but adding an acute diacritic mark to the 'o'.  In the text, however, it translated the word "pendejo" as "asshole."  I suspect the diacritic mark explains something, but I do not know the grammatical rules involved.  On the surface, this would appear to be a most undiplomatic thing for one head of state to say to another, whatever the translation.  But because I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation, I cannot offer much of an opinion on the accuracy of the comment.  Perhaps someone well-versed in Venezuelan slang could clarify. 

I notice that the NYT had an article on the same event, reporting that Chávez "mocked" Bush.  They did not venture a translation of the term "pendejo."

Venezuelan Leader, Battling a Recall, Mocks Bush


Published: March 1, 2004

[...]Mr. Chávez, whose language has become increasingly hostile in the face of American support for a recall referendum, warned that if the Bush administration carried out what he called American aggressions, "the people of the United States should know that they will not get another drop of oil from Venezuela." The American energy market is heavily reliant on Venezuela, one of the top four providers of petroleum to the United States.

Accusing the Bush administration of destabilizing Venezuela and coveting the country's huge oil reserves, Mr. Chávez mocked President Bush, saying he stole the 2000 elections and "is not even the legitimate president of the United States."

Mr. Chávez, a leftist populist, has ruled Venezuela since his election in 1998. He was re-elected in 2000 to a term that ends in 2006, and he has vowed to remain in power longer than Mr. Bush.

"Let's bet on who will last longer, George W. Bush, you in the White House or me in Miraflores Palace," he said.[...] [bold emphasis mine]

 "Increasingly hostile" indeed.